Elevating A4 allroad®.
Elevating A4 allroad®.
An iconic improvement.
An iconic improvement.
By: D. Momanaee
Photos: Audi MediaCenter, AUDI AG
When he introduced it at the North American International Auto Show, Audi of America President Scott Keogh described the all-new 2017 Audi A4 allroad® as the “perfect companion in every situation”—and for good reason. It offers a different kind of experience—more of a crossover feel—to a decidedly different kind of audience than its A4 cousin. In part, that’s because it was designed for people who like to seek out the roads where the pavement ends. But, seeing it in person and knowing how it performs, we think it has broader appeal than its iconoclastic reputation suggests.
Start with the fact that the A4 allroad, with its spacious interior and elevated stance, would fit neatly in the very popular crossover segment, but it’s sleeker and seemingly fitter than a lot of the smaller SUVs. Plus, it offers quattro® all-wheel drive with ultra® technology as standard equipment. This new intelligent system helps efficiency1 while decreasing parasitic drag of the rear axle in normal driving situations by engaging the all-wheel drive system only when it is needed, responding to changing driving situations in milliseconds. This new system represents an improvement over four-wheel-drive-on-demand systems that require front wheel slip to engage by instead using data from a number of sensors to proactively engage the rear axle depending on driving conditions.
From a spec perspective, the A4 allroad offers an additional 1.3 inches of ride height compared to the new A4 for extra offroad potential and a bit more of an elevated presence. Some of that ground clearance comes courtesy of a lift in the suspension, while taller, purpose-built sidewalls—housing 18-inch rims—give the vehicle extra height and add to the striking looks. Contrast cladding or optional full-paint finish and sturdy underbody guard and rear diffuser make driving over loose dirt and gravel an amusement. The A4 allroad sports a distinctive silhouette profile with flared fenders, new front and rear bumpers, and a unique Singleframe® grille.
One of the main draws of this vehicle has always been its offroad capabilities coupled with the creature comforts of a premium sedan—which makes it a handsome, even rugged vehicle, with brains to match.
By leveraging the technological and comfort advances of the 2017 Audi A4 Sedan, the inside of the allroad envelops you in the kind of refinement that might help you briefly forget you’re offroad. With the available Prestige trim, this is the driving equivalent of glamping, taking you almost anywhere you could want to go while cradled in available ventilated and heated perforated leather seating surfaces and surrounded by the driver-centric ergonomics of the cockpit.
Additionally, the new MMI® interface makes interacting with technology a logical extension of your hand and voice, and the interior ambient LED lighting makes you feel like you’re driving into the future. With 58.5 cu. ft. of cargo space with the back seats laid flat, the A4 allroad provides ample cargo space, making this a truly perfect companion no matter where you’re headed.
Inside, you’ll also find plenty of eye candy. The available Audi virtual cockpit stands out for the A4 allroad, replacing analog gauges with an intuitive and brilliantly illuminated 12.3-inch digital display in the dash that’s designed to be responsive, vibrant and convenient for navigation, media and phone calls. But that’s not the only screen in this tech titan. An available slim 8.3-inch-wide MMI display right in the center of the dash serves as the main infotainment interface and keeps you in touch with Audi connect®2 online services.
And for the ultimate connected drive, an available full-color head-up display—called a HUD in space travel movies and futuristic video games—turns your windshield into yet another screen. While looking sleek and elegant, its technicolor vibrancy feels straight out of science fiction. Information appears in the driver’s peripheral vision, just below their line of sight to help reduce distraction. Beam me up.
Another crowd-pleasing aspect should be its drivability and power profile. It starts with the new quattro® all-wheel drive with ultra® technology—a real breakthrough developed with performance and efficiency in mind. It uses a range of sensors and control units to allow the vehicle to predictively adapt torque application when it’s needed. Driving over ice, for example, the system proactively engages within milliseconds, giving you a new take on the legendary power of quattro.®
Choosing the Offroad mode from Audi drive select tunes the vehicle for improved performance in rough terrain, and when you’re back on tarmac, a standard turbocharged 252-horsepower 2.0-liter TFSI® engine propels you from 0–60 in 5.9 seconds3—0.5 seconds faster than the previous model. The standard suspension has been updated for the 2017 model, too, with a new five-link suspension in the rear for a better ride and improved handling.
Here’s to enjoying long, wandering drives with no destination in mind, even with an available map right in the instrument cluster. The 2017 Audi allroad will lead you into driving glory, almost anywhere you roam, maybe even so far as into the mainstream—or maybe, if you are a true allroad fan, you just want to keep these secrets to yourself.
1See www.fueleconomy.gov for EPA estimates. Your mileage and emissions will vary and depend on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.
2Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted.
3Always obey all speed and traffic laws.
European model shown.